Swiss Re swings to 2021 profit but still feels pandemic effect

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Reinsurer Swiss Re's headquarters are seen on the banks of Lake Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd WIegmann

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FRANKFURT, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Swiss Re (SRENH.S) swung to a smaller-than-expected full-year profit in 2021, the reinsurance company said on Friday, marking a partial rebound from the coronavirus pandemic despite big claims from natural disasters.

Profit was dragged down by COVID-19 losses at its life and health reinsurance division due to an increase in deaths in the United States.

The 2021 net profit of $1.437 billion compares with a net loss of $878 million a year earlier. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.854 billion, according to a consensus report published by Swiss Re.

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Insurers have been bouncing back from 2020, which was hit even harder by expenses around the pandemic.

Marked by devastating hurricanes and cold snaps in the United States, 2021 was one of the costliest ever for the world's insurers. read more

"2021 marked an important turning point for Swiss Re," Chief Executive Officer Christian Mumenthaler said in a statement.

The company is proposing a dividend of 5.90 Swiss francs ($6.39) per share.

($1 = 0.9230 Swiss francs)

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Reporting by Tom Sims and Paul Arnold Editing by Miranda Murray

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